Here's what the Traditional Ballad Index has to say about it.
Wreck of Old 97, The [Laws G2]DESCRIPTION: "Steve" Broady is told that, due to a mix-up in numbering, his train is "way behind time." He is driving as fast as he can to make up the time when, on a long downgrade, his brakes fail. The train goes off the track; Broady dies at the controls
AUTHOR: disputed (tune by Henry Clay Work)
EARLIEST DATE: 1924
KEYWORDS: crash wreck train death
Sept 27, 1903 - "Old 97" goes off the track near Danville, killing engineer Joseph A. "Steve" Broady and at least ten others
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,Ro,SE,So)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Laws G2, "The Wreck of Old 97"
Randolph 683, "The Wreck of the Southern Old 97" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman, p. 318, "The Wreck of the Old 97" (1 text)
Botkin-RailFolklr, p. 449, "The Wreck of the Old 97" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 104 "The Wreck Of The Old 97" (1 text)
DT 634, WRECK97*
Kelly Harrell, "The Wreck on the Southern Old 97" (OKeh 7010, 1925; on KHarrell01)
cf. "The Ship That Never Returned" [Laws D27] (tune & meter)
cf. "The Train that Never Returned" (tune & meter)
cf. "The Flying Colonel" (tune)
The Speakers Didn't Mind (Greenway-AFP, pp. 136-137)
On a Summer Eve (Greenway-AFP, pp. 138-139)
Notes: Authorship claimed by, among others, David Graves George; the legal battles over the song were extended. The tune is taken from Henry Clay Work's "The Ship that Never Returned" - RBW
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
The Ballad Index Copyright 2000 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.